Warning: this article features many IT stereotypes that may or may not be true.
When you think ‘IT’, you’d be forgiven for imagining a middle-aged man with a long beard, wearing a Jurassic Park tee and sitting in a windowless basement playing World of Warcraft until the early morning hours.
Similarly, IT managers frequently get similar reputations as people who live and breathe computers, fix the internet when it goes offline and doesn’t always come across as human. They’re typical geeks, and no one knows what their job is except them.
In reality, a promising IT provider is significantly less 'geek' and more professional. Here’s why.
Technology is a driver for business proficiency.
It doesn’t matter what industry you work in; IT plays a huge part. Whether you’re a blogger who sits in front of a laptop, a sales rep who spends more hours on the phone than breathing or a COO who manages 50+ staff, you’d have no idea what to do with yourselves if your IT demands went down.
For a business to run efficiently and optimally in the 21st century, business owners and managers must have a documented IT strategy that will help take them to the next level. To create this, an IT manager needs to have a professional mindset and understand the overall direction of the business and how they will help get it there.
Business owners and managers demand out-of-the-box thinking from their staff; an IT manager is no exception. Unfortunately, innovation and creative thinking often aren’t what you get with typical ‘IT geeks’ who continue to run systems as they did ten years ago.
Geeks, be gone.
What characterised the IT crowd in the past was their way of working. Typically, they’d create a role where only they knew what was happening, so if anything went wrong, they could fix it. This made IT and everything associated with it intimidating for everyone else in the business and almost positioned an IT manager as the office ‘hero’.
We need to eliminate this geeky persona for the IT industry to be taken more seriously. The positive thinking around Apple products has supported this way of thinking because Apple is seen as ‘cool’ in every industry versus a programme like Linux, which is still pretty geeky.
Today, IT is more about streamlining processes and equipping and empowering everyone to solve their IT problems. Software and strategies have evolved significantly over the last ten years, so ‘IT geeks’ need to keep up with new technology and not remain stuck in their ways.
Another ‘geek indicator’ is the inability to make tech-speak sound understandable and approachable to the average human. Being able to articulate complicated, technical jargon and processes simply is actually an art, one that many IT professionals have not yet mastered.
How to spot the difference between a geek and a professional.
If you’re in the market for IT services but you want to hire a professional, here are a few questions to ask yourself before signing on the dotted line:
Do you understand what they’re saying?
Did they turn up to your meeting looking professional?
Do they explain processes?
Do they come across as being outgoing and friendly?
Are they up to play with modern technology and business demands?
If you answered ‘no’ to those questions, that IT professional might not be the best fit for your business. You want an IT provider that will come into your business and fits seamlessly with your processes and people, not create divisions. You want to know what they’re doing. And most importantly, you want value - bang for your buck!